So, it begins:
- Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes everyone will get a good, long look from first-year head coach Matt Nagy. Because if anyone is going to give a wide array of rookies a fair shot to make the squad it’s the head coach who played his college ball at Delaware and started his coaching career with a roll of the dice at the lowest levels of the NFL.
- And that’s how it should be. GM Ryan Pace has done his job with the tear-down of what was old and injecting some new talent to go along with his new leader, but it’s up to Nagy and his staff to coach everyone up and find the best players for the roster. It sounds like Nagy and the rest of the Bears’ coaches will leave no stone unturned when evaluating the players at their disposal. In fact, it sounds like Nagy is ready to embrace the challenge head-on. The energy he brings is off the charts.
- The Bears’ undrafted free agency haul might not be as impressive as what they were able to accomplish in the NFL Draft, but there are a handful of names to watch. Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton gives the Bears a “C” grade for what they did in the undrafted free agent market. Moton highlights Indiana cornerback Rashard Fant as someone to watch for because of how well he performed as a sophomore and junior for the Hoosiers, even if his measurables come with question marks.
- I’m not all that concerned that the Packers (A-), Lions (B-), and Vikings (B-) all graded better than the Bears in this area, according to Moton. But I’ll be honest, I’m a little miffed that the Bears didn’t follow a great draft with a kick-butt effort in landing some more high-potential UDFA prospects. But then again, I suppose we’re splitting hairs here.
- Over at NBC Sports Chicago, John Mullin believes that Nagy’s ability to install a new culture at Halas Hall is as important as putting in the new playbook. Nagy’s arrival turns a page and offers a blank canvas after the end of the John Fox era. We can talk about new players and plays until we’re blue in the face. In fact, we plan on doing so because there is a lot to discuss regarding the new-look Bears. HOWEVER, the Nagy era brings more than just some new faces and concepts. There is something more with regards to edge and attitude that this new era of Bears football has right now that previous iterations didn’t. All in all, I’m totally here to see how it all translates into winning football games.
- It’s encouraging to read that the pair of inside linebackers the Bears drafted in April are getting off on the right foot. Roquan Smith and Joel Iyiegbuniwe are in the getting-to-know-each-other phase of camp, writes Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune. Smith and Iyiegbuniwe are roommates right now, and “Iggy” says he is going to take advantage of this and pick through the brain of one of his partners in crime.
- Frankly, it’s a great idea. Smith is an All-American and Butkus Award winner who learned under some highly regarded coaches and went through the rigors of playing against top-tier competition weekly in college football’s best conference. Iyiegbuniwe didn’t have those opportunities often at Western Kentucky, but it’s noteworthy that he played similarly to Smith against his level of competition. This isn’t to say they’re the same guy, but Iyiegbuniwe plays fast, showed good instincts, and an ability to bring down ball-carriers with sound tackling technique. Smith is a far superior athlete and showed it while dominating the SEC. But if Iyiegbuniwe can pick up some tricks of the trade, then we could be seeing the start of something special.
- Some good news to report regarding the items that were stolen from Roquan Smith. TMZ Sports reports that Landyn Shane Durham, a University of Georgia student, has turned himself in to Clarke County officials. Durham has been charged with felony suspicion of entering an automobile, but officials also say Durham was charged with hitting a second car (on that belonged to a Georgia lacrosse player) in the same parking lot. I’m truly bothered by crimes like this. A student doing this to a fellow student is wrong on so many levels.
- I’m a sucker for seeing the old guard helping out the new kids. So you know it warmed my heart as a Bears fan to see the group of guys who came in to speak to this class of Bears rookies. Players I grew up rooting for like Alex Brown, Marcus Robinson, Charles Tillman, and James “Big Cat” Williams showed up to share their wisdom with this new class, and it’s pretty awesome that each of these guys has a different background and took various roads to their NFL success. There is something to be learned from everyone who the Bears brought in, so hopefully their points came across well.